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Trump: North Korea's Kim would 'truly regret' attack on Guam

WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump said Friday he hopes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un understands his remarks that the US military is "locked and loaded" in case of an attack on the US territory of Guam, pledging Kim would "truly regret" such a move.

"I hope that they are fully going to understand the gravity of what I said and what I said is what I mean," Trump told reporters at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is on vacation.

If Kim attacks Guam, "he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast," Trump said.

Trump had warned earlier on Twitter that the military was "locked and loaded" amid a threat by North Korea to strike Guam as rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang heats up.

"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!" Trump tweeted.

At an informal news conference at his resort later in the day, alongside Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and US National Security Advisor H R McMaster, Trump said further economic sanctions against North Korea were being considered.

Trump described the sanctions under consideration as "very strong, very, very high level" and "probably you could say as strong as they get," but did not discuss any specific details.

Trump also said he would speak on the phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the "very dangerous" situation in North Korea that night.

"Nobody loves a peaceful solution better than President Trump. That I can tell you. Hopefully it will all work out," Trump said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had earlier called for calm and rejected a military solution to the North Korean crisis as she made her first statements after returning from holiday.

"An escalation of the language is for me the wrong response," the chancellor said following the exchanges between Trump and North Korea.

"I also don't see a military solution (to the conflict) and do not consider it necessary," Merkel told a press conference in Berlin.

Instead, Merkel called for all sides to the crisis, including the United States, South Korea and Japan to work closely together with the United Nations.

Trump however downplayed the criticism from a leader he called a "friend of mine" and a "very good person."

"Let her speak for Germany," Trump said when asked about Merkel's earlier comments. "Maybe she's referring to Germany, she's certainly not referring to the United States."

Trump has doubled down on his threats against North Korea since vowing "fire and fury" against the reclusive regime on Tuesday, saying the warning "wasn't tough enough."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meanwhile said that "the risks are very high" that the US and North Korea could go to war.

There have been "direct threats of using force," Lavrov said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.

He reiterated that Russia believes North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons is "unacceptable."

Russia and China have the closest, relatively-speaking, diplomatic relations with the insular state of North Korea.

North Korea carried out its second intercontinental missile test on July 28, later claiming that it now had the capability to reach all of the US mainland.

In response, the UN imposed its harshest sanctions yet on the reclusive nation. They are expected to cut North Korea's export revenues by one third.

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